This Creamy French Onion Soup baked in a bread bowl is an even better, way to love your French onion soup. These cheesy bowls have everything you love about a rich bowl of French onion soup, only better. There’s a touch of cream to make every spoonful rich and creamy. And there’s slowly caramelized onions in a mix of apple cider and wine with fresh herbs. Together they deliver the most delicious flavor. This soup is made even better because it’s baked in a mini bread bowl with slices of melted Gruyère cheese. The perfect bowl of soup that’s great for both fall and winter days!
I was not a kid who grew up enjoying bowls of cheese-topped French onion soup. Honestly, I didn’t grow up with onions at all. My mom has always been very opposed to anything with onions, so we just didn’t have them.
Once I started cooking, for the first few years I too avoided using onions, thinking I didn’t like them. But then things started to change as I began diving into more and more recipes. I tried using shallots, and then eventually onions, and I found that most of us actually kind of love them.
Not raw, definitely not raw onions, those we’re not into, but a sautéed onion is delicious in most recipes. I add them to our tacos, pastas, and more.
A few years ago I made my first-ever french onion recipe. And now we’re obsessed with the classic bowl of cheese-topped onion soup.
This recipe, however, is special. It’s not too different from the classic bowl that you might order out or make at home. But instead of just using broth, I add a touch of cream, then ladle the soup into fresh baked sourdough bread bowls.
Just as Panera does with many of their soups! It’s just as yummy, rich, and delicious as it all sounds. A great soup to make during these cold, short days of the fall and winter seasons.
Here are the details
Step 1: caramelize the onions
This is the step most people get intimated by, but promise you, it’s easy. You need butter and lots of sweet yellow onions. Thinly slice each onion, then start cooking them down in the butter. When they start to soften, add a splash of apple cider. Don’t use vinegar, just regular apple cider.
The sugars in the cider help the onions break down and caramelize evenly and quicker than just caramelizing the onions in butter. The cider also adds a really nice flavor that pairs beautifully with the sweet onion and Gruyère cheese.
Step 2: add the herbs
Next, add some garlic, then the herbs. I love to use a mix of fresh thyme and sage. The thyme is more traditional, but sage is not typically used. I think it’s so delicious with the nutty butter, sweet onions, and cider.
Then add salt and pepper and mix in the dry white wine.
Step 3: add the broth
Next, add the broth. I used a rich beef bone broth, which really gives the soup a rich, french onion flavor. If you’re someone who does not cook with beef broth, you can easily use vegetable broth. Just make sure you’re getting a nice golden color on the onions so the flavor will stand out.
Add a couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce and then a Parmesan rind. The parmesan rind will simmer with the soup adding in even more yummy flavor.
Step 4: toast the bread bowl
Now, bake the bread bowls to help dry them out before adding the soup. This will ensure the bread does not automatically soak up all of the broth.
I have been buying my bread bowls from Panera, which are of course delicious. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s also carry bread bowls, especially during this time of year.
Step 5: bake each bowl
Ladle the soup into each bread bowl and top with slices of Gruyère cheese. Bake until the soup is bubbling under the cheese and the cheese is very melty. It’s going to smell so good.
Then simply pull these out of the oven and experience the bubbling cheese and the deliciousness of a truly good bowl of French onion soup. The bread bowl itself just makes the already rich and delicious soup even better.
This soup will make a great any night-of-the-week dinner, but my original thought for this recipe was actually for Thanksgiving! Such a cute, easy way to enjoy French onion soup for the holiday. Guests will love it! I already have plans to make this on both Thanksgiving and again over Christmas break. My sister-in-law, Lyndsie is very excited.
Looking for other warming fall/winter soups? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make this Creamy French Onion Soup in Bread Bowls, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Creamy French Onion Soup In Bread Bowls
Calories Per Serving: 481 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- 4-5 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 6-8 cups beef or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth if vegetarian)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (omit if vegetarian)
- 1 parmesan rind
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream or whole milk
- 4 -6 sourdough bread bowls, bowls hallowed out, reserve the tops (optional)
- 8 to 12 slices Gruyère cheese
- 1. Melt together the butter and onions in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. At this point, you want to slowly add the apple cider, 1/4 cup at a time, until the cider cooks into the onions. Continue to cook another 10 minutes until you've used all of the cider and the onions are deeply golden.2. Add the garlic, thyme, and sage. Season with salt and pepper, cook another 3-4 minutes. Add the wine, broth, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan rind, and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and return the soup to a simmer, simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the cream and cook another 5 minutes. Remove the parmesan rind and discard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400° F. Arrange the bread bowls on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. 4. Ladle the soup into the bread bowls and top evenly with cheese. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 10 minutes. Top with fresh thyme or crispy sage in brown butter. Eat!
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Bread Bowls: I order mine at Panera Bread, but most grocery stores carry mini bread bowls. You can also ask the bakery at Whole Foods to bake a few off for you as well.